Worst Night Since The Mayflower Vans…

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I knew the minute I arrived in my seats and saw the inactives. No Chris McAlister. Yeah, I knew that was going to be a big problem.

But, of course Samari Rolle was penciled in. But as the Ravens took the field on defense, I looked left and saw David Pittman and right and saw Jamaine Winborne. The depth chart included Derrick Martin.

I knew right then, it was going to be a very, very long night. I text Drew and Casey at kickoff and said: “The Colts might score 50 tonight!” I sent that text at 8:23. By 9:01 p.m., the score was 21-0. By 9:04 it was 23-0. At 9:16, the score was:

Colts 30, Ravens 0

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What would the players rather have?

The fans leave en masse at halftime, or stay – wet and miserable — and boo mercilessly all night for the lackluster effort?

Several times during the NBC broadcast, John Madden said “they don’t even look like they know where to line up!”

I didn’t expect them to beat the Colts. I had very tempered “enthusiasm” walking into the stadium. I fully expected the worst, and would go so far as to say if I was a betting man, I’d have pulled the game off the board the nano-second I heard Rolle and McAlister weren’t playing.

Short rest, very undermanned due to injury in a place that Peyton Manning would exploit, etc. — it had all the earmarks of a bad night.

Somewhere after that third touchdown, when the rains came almost as mercilessly as Manning’s offensive attack, it seemed the tears of Johnny Unitas and John Steadman fell from the sky.

If January wasn’t bad enough, now this!

Baltimore – the city – getting absolutely BLISTERED on national television by the Indianapolis Colts for the third consecutive time in as many years in the very public spotlight. Unlike the others, which were at least competitive affairs, this was just a behind-the-woodshed ass-kicking.

Look, NOTHING was EVER or WILL EVER BE worse than what happened last January. That despair, the emptiness, the civic knockout that we felt at the hands of our former lover with the horseshoes. Losing in January at home has its own category that could only be surpassed by moving vans.

I’m not “there” right now, and I can’t pretend this loss at 4-8 hurts anywhere near what the playoff meltdown did.

But to sit through the biggest embarrassment in the history of the franchise, well, I just wasn’t prepared for that when I walked into the stadium.

I wasn’t prepared for a biblical turd like we got here tonight.

The Colts might’ve scored 70 if Bill Belichick was their coach. Tony Dungy put the brakes on his friend Brian Billick well before halftime, punting from the 30-yard line at one point when it was 37-7.

And I don’t know that I’m prepared to walk outta Dolphin Stadium six days from now if the Fish fans actually get their one victory at the expense of the purple. Especially after seeing this same group (minus a few cornerbacks, mind you) play the best team and the best quarterback on earth to their knees last Monday night.

The entire effort tonight – from the gameplan to the execution to the non-existent depth chart – was inadequate. The entire organization will be grieving this loss for a long, long time. This was jaw-dropping in its stench, especially when you consider that 98% of the people in the stadium walked out at halftime. The parking lot was CLEARED during the fourth quarter!

And you thought FREE THE BIRDS was impressive. Tonight was a MUCH bigger "walk out" for sure!

No one was there to even witness the “Troy Smith Show.” The crowd after halftime made the preseason games feel like a hot ticket.

I hope I never live to see another night like this one.

The game in January was about a championship. Tonight, was just about pride and fight.

From McGahee’s fumble, to Boller’s propensity to throw the ball to the guys in the horseshoes, to the entire embarrassment of the secondary to the wet, cold weather and gloom and foggy haze over the city, it was the most forgettable evening of football we’ve had in this city since the horseshoes were pilfered by Bob Irsay on March 28, 1984.

It was a bush-league effort and a bush-league night all the way around, reminiscent of some of the legendary Frank Kush turds of the Irsay era.

And for those thousands who left early, I can’t blame you.

I left too.

It was cold, it was wet, it was disgusting and I just couldn’t stomach it. My father is doing flips over in his cemetery plot at Gardens of Faith from this one!

After the third touchdown, Brian Billick was seen on NBC saying the same word we were all saying: “WOW!”

At that instant, the sky opened, rain poured, and it really went to hell from there. 

Does tonight’s disaster directly affect Brian Billick’s future with the Ravens?

I don’t think so at this point, but it surely won’t HELP. Enough fans will say he’s in trouble to create enough of a civic nightmare for Steve Bisciotti that he is going to have to at least consider all of the “ambient” noise.

Sure, the people who hate Billick will be calling for his lynching. That’s been happening for 10 years. And even some of the former supporters will be jumping ship, depending on what way the wind blows.

And the noise could be substantial and relentless for both Billick and Ozzie Newsome, not to mention Bisciotti and anyone else in power in Owings Mills.

The fans, in many cases, don’t understand patience and/or losing. The media has become increasingly skeptical and harsh. And seven losses in a row would be a major alarm for any franchise.

If they keep losing like this – embarrassing, lopsided, sloppy losses – Billick’s seat will get quite toasty. That’s just a fact!

If the Ravens players quit on the coach, what does the organization do about it? What is the reaction this week to all of the noise the organization will undoubtedly hear and feel?

The Ravens appear to be headed toward a potential 10-game losing streak to end the season. They really MIGHT lose to the Dolphins this week. They’re capable of being that bad at this point, mainly because the secondary second-teamers clearly don’t belong on the same field with Peyton Manning. Who knows what that means for John Beck or Cleo Lemon?

I haven’t seen the spread, but I can’t think the Ravens will be favored?

The fans will be very, very restless given this effort tonight, especially in light of the turd in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and the seven-game losing streak.

If the fans and the precocious media blistered the franchise for lack of “discipline” for the Bart Scott meltdown last week, imagine what 44-7 in the third quarter will get you?

The injuries are unquestionably the biggest “X” factor in this equation. From Steve McNair to Todd Heap to Chris McAlister to Samari Rolle, it has sucked the life outta the franchise this year. Not to mention a slew of freaky calls, freaky weather and strange timeouts and penalties to go with a serious dose of inadequate football.

There have been plenty of blown assignments, penalties, turnovers and mistakes to go along with the devastating injuries.

But let’s remember that the Colts played without Dwight Freeney and Marvin Harrison, and they still managed to kick our asses from what felt like Canton to Pigtown and back again.

The natives will be very restless this week.

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Baltimore Positive is the vision and the creative extension of four decades of sharing the love of local sports for this Dundalk native and University of Baltimore grad, who began his career as a sportswriter and music critic at The News American and The Baltimore Sun in the mid-1980s. Launched radio career in December 1991 with Kenny Albert after covering the AHL Skipjacks. Bought WNST-AM 1570 in July 1998, created WNST.net in 2007 and began diversifying conversations on radio, podcast and social media as Baltimore Positive in 2016. nes@baltimorepositive.com